52k Original Miles: 1968 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1968 Volkswagen Beetle is a black plate survivor that is in exceptional condition for its age. It is an unmolested classic with 52,000 genuine miles showing on its odometer, and it is ready to be enjoyed by a lucky new owner. The current owner has decided that the time has come to part with the humble “Herbie,” so he has listed it for sale here on Facebook. It is located in Redding, California, and you could park it in your driveway for $11,500.

The seller is this Beetle’s second owner, and he admits that the vehicle has received a repaint in its original Savannah Beige in the past. This remains in excellent condition, with no appreciable marks or flaws. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and a life spent in sunny California means that it has managed to remain rust-free. The chrome and trim are as impressive as the rest of the exterior, while there are no visible flaws with the glass. It is great to see that the car’s two owners have resisted the urge to fit bigger wheels and tires. This was a common upgrade, particularly during the late 1970s and into the 1980s. It can give the Beetle a tough and purposeful appearance, but retaining the original wheels and hubcaps will have helped this one in the value stakes. That is particularly relevant when you consider the asking price for this one.

Powering the VW is a 1,493cc air-cooled flat-four engine that pumps out 53hp. Those little ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transaxle. The Beetle is not a barnstormer when it is pointed at a ¼ mile, but that sort of performance was never what the Beetle was about. The original design brief was for the car to have the ability to travel the German Autobahns at a constant 60mph for between two and three hours between stops. This the Beetle managed to achieve with aplomb. I guess that means that it wasn’t a barnstormer, but t was an autobahn-stormer! Okay, I’ve also made better jokes than that. This VW is in mechanically sound condition, and the owner claims that it has a genuine 52,000 miles on the clock. I tend to treat such claims with a level of cynicism, but the owner holds complete service records and original documentation for the vehicle. That means that there should be enough evidence to verify the claim. The car has recently received new brakes and an oil change, and the owner says that the Beetle runs, drives, and stops perfectly.

The Beetle was designed as affordable motoring for the masses. As such, it was also pretty utilitarian. That is a trait that changed little throughout the vehicle’s production run and is clearly in evidence here. Apart from a pushbutton AM radio, there are no luxury features. However, not only is this interior original, but it is in excellent condition. The red leatherette upholstery is free from stains and tears, but readers will probably notice a color variation between the driver’s seat and the remaining upholstery. Until recently, that seat had been fitted with a slip-cover. It wore that from day one, which means that the vinyl has never been exposed to UV rays. Some potential buyers might choose to address this inconsistency, but I wouldn’t change it if I were to buy the car. This is part of this vehicle’s story as an original survivor, and I believe that it should remain unchanged like an upholstered badge of honor. The rest of the interior is spotlessly clean, so slipping behind the wheel and hitting the open road isn’t far away for the next owner.

Maybe I’m showing my age a bit, but I can clearly remember when potential buyers could take their pick of decent pre-1970 Beetles for under $1,000. They have morphed from an affordable commuter vehicle for the financially challenged into something of a cult classic. They still remain affordable, but not to the same level that they were a few short years ago. That inevitably brings us to the question of value. It is also an area of any classic where it pays for potential buyers to do their homework. For example, if we rely on Hagerty alone, this Beetle should be worth around $26,000. Jump across to NADA, and that figure drops by a cool $10,000. However, if you do some research and consider recent sales results, the pricing on this Beetle is probably about where it should be if the mileage claim can be confirmed beyond doubt. It is worth noting that values are continuing to rise at a healthy rate, so if a classic Beetle is on your wish list, maybe now would be a good time to give this one a closer look.

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Comments

  1. Jcs

    Pretty cool little Beetle, tough to find another as nice.

    Like 21
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    This is what I’m talking about: a well-presented car at a price that isn’t totally nuts. Kudos to the seller.

    Like 14
  3. Jcs

    Does anyone else remember crawling into that huge space behind the backseat and riding there when they were little?

    Like 22
    • unclemymy Member

      I’m there, man – my brother, sister, and I took turns in the “cubbyhole”..

      Like 8
    • CCFisher

      Yep! Though, willing to bet that it wouldn’t look so huge today. My pre-school bestie and I would ride back there in one of her family’s Beetles, most of which were started via a screwdriver inserted in place of a key.

      Like 7
    • Chris Platt

      OMG- my brother and I did that in 1965 in New Orleans (where we lived for awhile) to get a good (i.e., very small) parking space to see some Mardi Gras parades. The color of my dad’s ’65 Beetle was the same as this ’68 but with beige interior. Was traded in on a ’69 VW Squareback with auto trans and my dad towed a small boat with it!!

      Like 8
    • Dougie Member

      Well, I can’t resist. Hopefully some of you have had a similar experience. Otherwise, I’m def old af. Oh wait. I am old af.
      So my girl and her friend went to a drive-in movie in high school. Since the trunk obviously wasn’t an option, they crawled into the cubby hole (yes they were petite), I covered them with a sleeping bag, and voilá, admission three for the price of one. The movie was great, btw.

    • Rex Kahrs Member

      OK, I am totally lost. What “huge space” is behind the back seat of a ’65 VW? I owned a couple of these, and hell, the back seat couldn’t be construed as a huge space. Where could even the smallest person hide in the back seat of a Beetle??

      Like 1
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Where most cars have a parcel shelf behind the back seat underneath the back window (except for station wagons, e.g.) the Beetle had an open place that was large enough to stuff a small kid, or a small suitcase. The use of the word “huge” I think was sarcastic.

      • dougie Member

        I wouldn’t define it as huge either, Rex. And we weren’t talking about putting the smallest person in the “back seat”. A “Large”(sry peeps) person could fit there. But here’s the deal buster. Any clue on the most people to fit in a Beetle? 20

        Like 1
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Very good dougie. My good friend “The Google” verifies your claim about the record:

        https://guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-people-crammed-into-an-old-vw-beetle/

  4. Terry

    Instant nostalgia after looking at this ad. I’ve owned 5 total Beetles, but none since early 80s. If I wasn’t so far away I’d give this car a home.

    Like 11
  5. Jim

    Hateful things the Beetle. It’s almost like they were designed by Hitler….oh wait…..

    Like 4
    • Mikefromthehammer

      “Ferdinand Porsche is the name that most often comes up as the creator of the first Beetle. However, it was actually a Jewish engineer named Josef Ganz who had the first idea for this people’s car. Ganz was an automotive journalist, and he also held a number of vehicle patents for steering, suspension, and other automotive systems.”

      https://www.vwofchicagoland.com/who-designed-the-vw-beetle/

      Like 13
    • dan joyce Member

      It wasn’t designed by Hitler
      It was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. With a few borrowed ideas. Hitler provided the capital so the car could be built.

      Like 5
  6. George Mattar

    Great simple cars. Today VW is over priced garbage.

    Like 6
    • alphasud Member

      I agree. When I worked on VW’s in the 80’s they had a distinct feel and offered fun driving. Build quality wasn’t always the best like the Beetle era but they still felt like a VW. Now you can drive a Hyundai or a Kia and then a VW and really not feel any difference. The same thing has happened to other brands. Remember Saab? They moved more mainstream to appeal to the masses and lost their feel. Nice driving cars but they were no classic 900.

      Like 3
      • JMB#7

        Your point is well taken, and certainly applies to the SUV & Cross-over type stuff. But I will take exception that a VW GTI still feels very “German” solid and precise. A Honda Accord Sport or Civic Si, are very nimble and attached to the ground. Hyundai and KIA are still struggling to be the best of all worlds to everyone and have not developed that signature feel. IMHO, kind regards. JB

        Like 1
  7. Ralphy

    “For its age” should be stricken from the automotive lexicon. It’s a subjective description that means nothing.

  8. Ian C

    I must be getting old. I remember in the late 80’s-early 90’s I would see these in peoples back yards. I would stop by, talk about the car for a while and leave with the VW on my towbar for under $100. Those were the days! LOL Now the one I have in the garage is worth about $15k. Amazing how value and time flies.

    Like 8
  9. Rob LAW Norman

    I rolled one of these 7 times as a teenager doing 69mph in sharp curve on the highway. I seem to have lived to tell about it…. I was thrown out at the last second, on the final roll, into a shallow wet ditch hearing frogs croaking as I came to.
    No one warned me about that split axle — I was on solid asphalt the whole turn ! I think it’s how god got my attention…. definitely slowed me down !

    Like 6
  10. Jack Gray

    Had a ’65 with the 6 volt electrical system in the early 70’s. Changed out 3 generators and 2 starters in less than 2 years. Finally traded it for a 68 Renault R10, better ride, more power, better gas mileage. Got 42 MPG driving from south Jersey to Florida.

    Like 1
  11. bone

    Other than replacing the fender to body welting and the hood/trunk/door seals I’d leave it just the way it is and enjoy it

    Like 4
  12. Mike

    There is a beetle in California that doesn’t have a roof rack? How is that possible?

    Like 4
  13. angliagt angliagt Member

    I found another one for sale in Redding on craigslist,
    only it’s white.I wonder if it’s the same seller?

    redding.craigslist.org/cto/d/burney-vw-beetle/7290425675.html

    Like 1
  14. dougie Member

    OMG. This comment string is rife with misinformation, haters and ignorance. IMHO, the Volkswagen Beetle is quite possibly the most important vehicle in automotive history. So there you go. Peace out.

    Like 3

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